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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Discrepancy Enquiries: Action: Claimant appears in more than one entitlement unit

Where a person has been awarded tax credits as an individual and as a member of a couple during the same year they will be part of more than one entitlement unit. Where the risk affects each claim you must issue a separate opening letter to each individual entitlement unit.


Holly and Thomas are a low-income family with two children and have claimed tax credits since April 2007. On 8 September 2011 they separate having one child each and both claim as individuals. On 11 November 2011 Holly moves in with a new partner, Nathan and they claim as a couple.

There is a problem with Holly’s income and you need to open a discrepancy enquiry. You must send separate enquiry notices for the periods:

6 April to 7 September 2011 when she was with Thomas
8 September to 10 November when she claimed as a single person
11 November 2011 to 5 April 2012 when she was with Nathan

Although Holly may have been earning the same amount throughout the year it is important to establish the amounts for each household for each entitlement period. Therefore Holly will get three enquiry notices asking for her income for the full year and Thomas and Nathan will each get one.

To save postage and so Holly doesn’t get confused by getting three letters you should make sure you put all the letters in the same envelope with a covering note explaining that the law requires you to send her the three separate notices because she had three separate claims during the year.